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Mystery of the Missing CD/DVD Drives

CD/DVD Drives Disappearing from Device Manager

Around the Internet there seems to be a big problem with CD/DVD drives disappearing from Device Manager, not showing up in the MyComputer overview folder and even being absent from the BIOS. Very strange!

This is all a bit of a mystery and although some of the solutions listed below seem to work for some people there are still many others who are stuck with a non working CD/DVD unit.

Acer AspireAs PC repairers QBS PC Help have come across this problem with a clientsAcer Aspire 5315 laptop. Despite trying everything posted on line, this laptop is still without a working CD/DVD.

Here are some of the many things we found and tried in an effort to solve this problem.

We know that some of these suggestions have worked for a few people but the Acer 5315 laptop we have seems completely unfixable at the moment.

Here's a good fix for some situations

There is a fix that’s been around for some time for Windows XP which seems to have worked for some individuals who own Windows Vista laptops. It involves deleting the Upper and Lower Filters from the following registry key:


Always back up the Registry before you change anything. When you open regedit click on the File menu and choose Export. Once you have backed up the Registry these are the steps you need to take:

Click on Vista's start menu and type regedit into the search box.

Maximize the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE root key and then browse until you reach this particular key:


In the right hand panel you should see something along the lines of “UpperFilter” and “LowerFilter”. Click on each “filter” key and hit delete. Click yes when it asks to confirm if you wish to delete the key.

Now restart your PC for the change to take effect.

If you have deleted both the upper and lower filters and you still are unable to read CD’s or DVD’s, this may indicate that your drive or your motherboard is suspect. But before you rush out and buy new ones, try all the potential 'fixes' in the next column.

Try deleting entries in Device Manager

First go to Device Manager (type Device Manager in the Windows Vista search box and click on the result). Once you are in Device Manager check to see if a DVD/CD-ROM Drives heading is listed and click on the + sign to expand the view so you can see the device that should be listed there. If it shows a CD Rom Device right click it and select uninstall. You can then reinstall the device by clicking on the above ‘Action’ menu and selecting ‘Scan for hardware changes’.

Make sure you reboot your PC to see if this fix works.

Another possibility is to do all the above, stay in Device Manager, and then go into the IDE ATA/ATAPI controller and look at each IDE channel. Uninstall any channel which has nothing under the advanced settings. Windows Vista will then re-detect the channels (on reboot) and reconfigure any connected devices.

Once Vista reboots it should detect the CD Rom Drive and the correct Windows driver and install them.

A big problem with many online posts is that a lot of people seem to have no CD Device listed in Device manager !

One post reported this rather unusual idea

“For the past few days my dvd drive has been showing up and I’ve been using it and everything seems so perfect. What did I do? I unscrewed the drive from the bottom of the notebook. When I slid the drive out of its slot there was a little metal bracket that holds the drive in place. It has some very tiny screws in it. Remove that bracket from the drive and reinstall the drive without screwing it in at all. Yes, there is a risk of it sliding out if you’re not careful, but this worked for me. When I booted, the drive showed up. My guess is that the bracket causes it to not make a FULL connection. Don’t get me wrong, with the bracket installed, the light comes on as if the dvd drive is loading, it even responds to me pushing the button and opens up, but didn’t show up in My Computer. But now it does.”

A few more fixes that people have tried

Some people have replaced the CD/DVD drive with a new one and still end up with the same problem!

Even hard drives have been replaced and although this might fix the problem for a short while it usually returns!

We hope that one of these potential fixes works for you.

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